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Helping local businesses prosper
Morris Bank combines latest technology with full investment in community

As a commercial lender at Morris Bank, Brannen Smith has a clear understanding of the best way to help full investment businesses succeed.

“They’re running their business,” Smith said. “They’re experts in whatever field that business is in. We’re here to simplify all their banking needs so they can focus on their business.”

Smith and John Roach, Bulloch County market president for Morris, recently sat down for an interview to discuss working with small businesses in the area and some specific programs designed to help businesses prosper.

“As a community bank we have some flexibility to make some decisions in a quick manner for a business owner’s immediate need,” Roach said. “Say someone needs to buy a piece of equipment by Friday and it’s a Monday or a Tuesday, we have the flexibility and infrastructure in place where we can make it happen for the person and their business. That helps that business owner not have that interruption in their business by being able to move quickly.”

Sometimes assistance may come through a Morris Bank in-house financial program, but sometimes “for say a start-up, it might be a Small Business Administration lender,” Smith said.

“SBA has two programs, the 7A and 504, with certain types of loans,” he said. “Which one you use depends on what fits best for the client – their business, what they are doing. Their collateral will drive which program you go to. We work with SBA lenders for both programs.”

The 7A program typically is used if someone is buying an existing business and doesn’t have any real estate, Roach said. The 504 program usually includes real estate and a qualifying business could get long-term fixed rates through the 504 product.

Also, being a local, community bank allows Morris Bank, in some situations, to move more quickly in finalizing a loan.

“Having the ability to be empowered locally to make a decision cuts down a lot of the red tape that some borrowers might have to go through,” Roach said.

One tool set that has become very popular among most small businesses is Treasury Management Services.

Roach explained: “With the ever-growing banking technology changing almost daily, Treasury Management Services allows a business to do things online like ACH direct deposit for employees. Instead of issuing a paycheck, you can direct deposit into their account.

“It is geared towards online banking, and allows the business owner to be more responsive to paying a bill or paying a customer and be more efficient on their end. Remote express deposits are a great example where they can scan in a number of checks that will go directly into their accounts instead of having to take time out of their day and make a deposit at a physical bank.”

Smith said Morris’ mBiz eBanking program is being utilized by many of their business clients.

“We have an online platform called mBiz that allows businesses to go online and view their accounts,” Smith said. “They can move funds between accounts. Make wire transfers. Pay bills. If they have a line of credit or commercial line of credit with us, they can manage that. It’s a lot easier. A lot more compact for them, which makes their life easier.”

Roach is a lifelong Bulloch County resident and has been involved with local banks since 2002. Smith was a member of the 2008 Leadership Bulloch class and has been working as a Statesboro banker for 15 years. With their deep ties to Bulloch County, both Roach and Smith believe their community connections help them build strong relationships with their customers.

“Being a community bank with our team of commercial lending and mortgage lending, we’re all invested in the community with certain civic clubs and other local groups,” Smith said. “We’re all local. Business owners are dealing with a local team. Morris Bank is fully invested in the community. So it’s a partnership all the way around.”
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